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Finalists announced for Victoria’s National Philanthropy Day awards

Social change-elevating works by community members recognized in six award categories

The finalists have been announced for the National Philanthropy Day awards in Victoria next month.

National Philanthropy Day recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations in our communities that are making a difference in the lives of others. By ‘changing the world with a giving heart,’ these local philanthropists have been named as finalists in six award categories. The ceremony takes place on Friday, Nov. 16.

“The finalists are a pretty impressive group – people who really are demonstrating some of the most tremendous ways that people can get involved in social change in our community,” said Jessica Bell, National Philanthropy Day chair for Victoria. “They bring a diversity of experience and a diversity of passions, and it really feels like an honour being able to recognize them in this way.”

While many NPD honourees tend to shun the spotlight, preferring to do their good works behind the scenes, it’s important to take one night to let them know how much their efforts are valued, Bell said. Not only that, she added, it’s a great way to help spread the word about the causes they are supporting.

“There are a lot of the unsung heroes in the community that are stepping forward and doing exceptional things, under the radar in many instances.”

Generosity of Spirit – sponsored by United Way of Greater Victoria

Andrew Beckerman

Nominated jointly by Cool Aid, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Children’s Health Foundation

Andrew Beckerman lives by the motto “do for others as you would have them do for you”. And he lives it well. Andrew has donated over $1.5 million to various charities as well as a planned giving to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria of his personal art collection valued at over $750,000. Many of Andrew’s donations often come with the condition that they be matched, which has motivated many to donate and thus double the support. Believing we are never to young to donate, Andrew provided the participants in the Agents of Change Youth session with $150 CanadaHelps cards to help inspire and encourage the next generation of leaders. He will providing cards again this year. Leadership starts by example, and the charities Andrew has supported are extremely grateful.

Sisters of St. Ann

Nominated by Mount St. Mary Hospital

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) Pacific Northwest to Victoria. The SSA educated children and cared for the sick, opening 38 schools and 10 hospitals throughout BC, the Yukon and Alaska, subsidizing these efforts through their own labour and money. While their numbers are dwindling, with many Sisters living at Mount St. Mary Hospital, their philanthropy, determination and spiritual passion continues. Recent donations having included $3.2 million to the Victoria Foundation, $2.5 million to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Legacy Fund, $450,000 to Cool Aid towards affordable housing, and $2.0 million to help disadvantaged students attend UVic plus support to Connections Place for young adults with mental illness and Providence Farm in Duncan. Their mission will live on for years to come.

Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award – sponsored by Bayview Place

Jack Boomer

Nominated by Victoria Conservatory of Music

In 1998, Jack Boomer formed the Arbutus Singers (AS) and has served as volunteer choir director since its inception. This fundraising focused choir has supported 15 charities over the past 20 years, raising close to $400,000. In 2006, Jack established the Arbutus Singers Music Education Society to bring choral music education to kids in marginalized communities in Victoria. The ChoirKids has seen more than 2000 children across seven schools experience the joy and benefits of music. He has volunteered thousands of hours of personal time so that more funds are returned to the community. He has even collected toiletries and other basics through the choir to distribute in a remote community of Nunavut, where he frequently works. All this has been made possible due to Jack’s inspired leadership. His tireless commitment is outstanding.

Robert Noble

Nominated jointly by Island Prostate Centre and Camosun Collage

Robert Noble is one of those quiet yet very active community leaders. Robert joined the Board of Directors for the Camosun Foundation in 1982. Simultaneously, he has been a leadership donor and program volunteer at Island Prostate Centre since 2012 and has been instrumental in the activation of a strategy to put a focus on more sustainable gifts. At both Camosun College and the Island Prostate Centre, Robert sits on numerous committees, leading many of them. From walking over 8000 kms as a leader with the Prostate Cancer Recovery Walking Group since 2014 to chairing the Allocations Committee of the Camosun College Foundation, Robert puts in countless volunteer hours each year. Through decades of volunteer leadership and charitable giving, Robert, along with his wife Julie, exemplify volunteerism.

Shari & Mike Corrigan

Nominated by Camosun College Foundation

Individually and together, Shari and Mike Corrigan have given generously of their time and money over the years. Their outstanding skills in motivating groups of volunteers for fundraising projects have

Camosun College, the United Way of Greater Victoria, the Greater Victoria Hospitals Foundation, the CNIB, Community Living Victoria and a variety of local youth sport programs. As chair of Camosun Foundation Board’s fundraising committee in 2014, Shari volunteered on the college’s TRADEmark of Excellence Capital Campaign Cabinet, welcoming her husband Mike to serve with her. By the end of 2016, the campaign raised $7.5 million. Shari and Mike have always welcomed the opportunity to volunteer and give back to their community and continue to make significant contributions to a better community.

Outstanding Philanthropic Community Award – sponsored by Camosun College

100+ Women Who Care Victoria

Nominated by Broadmead Care Foundation

In June 2014, six local Victoria women met to see if they could start a chapter of 100 Women Who Care Victoria. They hoped they could find 100 women to come to their first meeting that September. They were overwhelmed when 140 members joined the chapter, each contributing the minimal $100 and thus providing a $14,000 donation – all raised in one hour! Since then the membership has grown to 270 members and has raised over $425,000 for 18 local charities. 100% of the donations go to the charity thanks to countless volunteer hours of the committee members and support of sponsors. At each meeting the previous winning charity presents on the impact their donation has had, providing the committee and the members the incentive to keep doing what they do.

Dale Douglas & Murray Stewart, Golf for Kids

Nominated by Help Fill A Dream

Dale Douglas and Murray Stewart are the dynamic duo who originally created the Golf for Kids as a fundraiser for Help Fill a Dream. The first golf tournament raised $14,000 and exceeded their expectations. In 2017, Golf for Kids raised $1 million, and in addition to supporting the featured charity, donated funds to 70 additional organizations and children in need of support. Having celebrated their 20th event this September, Dale and Murray have been involved every single year with their infectious vision, passion and commitment. A small army of volunteers join Golf for Kids each year, with many returning year after year. The community is a better place because of all the hard work Dale, Murray and their team of volunteers put into Golf for Kids each year. Thank you!

TeaLC/Pebble’s Gift Shop Volunteers of BC Cancer

Nominated by BC Cancer Foundation

Since 2001, a dedicated group of volunteers has raised $200,000 for the sole comfort of cancer patients at BC Cancer – Victoria. Operating two social enterprises, Pebbles Gift Shop and the TeaLC Café at BC Cancer, nearly 850 volunteers have participated in the program to provide personal services to the patients and their families with compassion and respect to make their visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Many of the volunteers are former patients or family members themselves as well as many UVic and Camosun students. As an inclusive volunteer program, opportunities are provided to all members of the community and from all backgrounds, including those with barriers to employment. With lots of experiential learning, they are very proud of their volunteers, with many going on to careers as doctors, nurses, radiation therapists, counsellors, social workers and more.

Corporate Responsibility Award sponsored by the University of Victoria

Coast Capital Savings

Nominated by Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership. An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a certified B Corporation in recognition of its social performance, the credit union invested $5.6 million into local communities in 2017, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, and is a winner of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation. It has 52 branches serving its 555,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada’s first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution.

The Wilson’s Group

Nominated by Pearson College UWC

Wilson’s Transportation Ltd is a locally-owned charter bus company serving Victoria and Vancouver Island since 1962, and currently have three generations of Wilson family members involved with the company. Locally they give over $300,000 in cash, discounts and gifts each year, including support of Pearson College’s One World student performance. They have contributed major gift contributions to help specific programs and campaigns, including Royal Athletic Park which is now known as The Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park for all baseball related entertainment and events. John and Samantha Wilson are currently co-chairing Camosun College’s “Together for Health” campaign, with the goal of raising $5 million over the next two years to help with our community’s growing need for health care professionals. Such a wonderful family business!

Heirloom Linens

Nominated by Victoria Hospice

Heirloom Linens is a locally owned family business that has been giving back to the community since it opened in 1995. Owned by Bob and Joan Ianson, along with daughter Kristen Stannix, Heirloom Linens launched a philanthropic program called the “12 Months of Giving”, raising over $95,000 for over 40 local charities since 2015. These are often small, lesser known charities who greatly need the funds and media exposure provide by the program. As well, after having a loved one receive care through Victoria Hospice, Bob, Joan and Kristen with family, friends and staff organized a Yard Sale, raising $4,000 in 2012. Since then they have donated $52,000 from their yard sales. These funds have covered the Hospice Palliative Response Team (PRT) vehicle expenses for roughly 10,400 home visits. Community business helping local!

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Day (11-18 years) – sponsored by TELUS

Diya Courty-Stephens

Nominated by St. Michael’s University School

In 2017, Diya Courty-Stephens started a volunteer organization called Neighbourhood Bites. Already a volunteer for various organizations, Diya was researching the global food waste problem as part of her St. Michael’s University School research class. Diya discovered that a lot of good food that is close to the Best Before Date is thrown away by stores. Neighbourhood Bites organizes weekly/bi-weekly pick-ups of food that the stores would otherwise discard. Although in its infancy, over $8,500 worth of food has already gone to those in need and they don’t plan to stop now. Diya is joined by schoolmates Portia Balfour, Meredith Selwood and Jordan Stonehouse to manage the organization. Got to love the initiatives of young philanthropists.

Royal Oak Youth in Action Group

Nominated by Royal Oak Middle School

The Royal Oak Youth in Action Group is committed to making a difference in their school, local and global community by joining forces with the WE Movement and developing and participating in ways that contribute to the greater good of our world. On a global level they raised $1600 to donate to their Ethiopia WE Charity. They have pulled together a battery drive campaign where the zinc is removed from the batteries and the minerals are sent overseas to help make multivitamins. The group also started a “We Scare Hunger” campaign where they collected over 1000 non-perishable food items for a local women’s shelter and collected paper rolls for young birds at a sanctuary. The group continues to inspire and be involved in as many initiatives as possible.

Saanich Jr. Braves Hockey Team

Nominated by Victoria Hospice

The Saanich Jr. Braves have hosted an annual “Pink in the Rink” charity hockey game for the past three years in support of Victoria Hospice, which has resulted in $46,000 being donated to end-of-life care in the community. Players raise these funds through collecting pledges, selling tickets, hosting a raffle, an auction and more. Each of the players also undertake their own fundraising, including head shaves. Starting early in the year, the team work together and compete with each other to raise the most money possible. Through their shared commitment to the cause, they consistently reach their annual fundraising goals, which has resulted in them increasing their donation to Victoria Hospice year over year. They also support other community groups through donating concession sales and raffles. A wonderful group of young men doing good in our community.

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Day (5-10 years) – sponsored by Children’s Health Foundation

Andrei Marti

Nominated jointly by Help Fill a Dream and Nicholas H. Browne

Andrei Marti is such a fundraising superstar already that he had two nominations put forward for this award. When Andrei was 5-years old he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and became a force to be reckoned with in his quest to help others suffering from the same disease. He currently raises money for Help Fill a Dream and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (raising $10,000) and dedicating countless hours giving speeches and educating others on his condition. Last year he decided that busking would be a faster way to raise money, so he got his busking licence and started “handstands for diabetes” on Government Street, collecting more than $1000 performing during the summer months. At the ripe old age of 8, Andrei is someone we can all wish to live up to.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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